Looking the Monster in the Eye

In Which

One Artist Attempts

to Transform Fear and Loathing

into Peace and Power

A (Literally) Ripping Picture-Story Comprising Alternative Art Heart Facts

{Warning: you might not be able to stomach the ensuing facial photos}
{on the other hand, the face has been difficult to avoid, unless you live in a remote cave in an exotic location}

trump art collage paint Swain

Preface (a poem):

There’s no need to ration

self-care or compassion

when tending a wound

of the heart.

To deepen the healing,

allow space for feeling

and channel your hurt

through your art.

Chapter One
in which

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How to tend a hurt heart

Creative Wellbeing in a Time of Trump

I cannot pretend. I cannot send out a glib, pretty message disconnected from deeper realities. I want to speak with you directly, from my heart to yours, and hopefully back again, in a loop of realness.

I wish to inspire the feeding of creativity, the gathering of community, the radiating of authentic connection.

heart art collage Swain

Sally Swain © original art

But here comes the Old Steam Train of Doubt … choo choo … puff puff … TOOOT!


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How to Grow a


tree art painting Sally Swain

Sally Swain © original art



  • a palette of squodgy leftover paint from your residential aged care art therapy clients
  • patterns, textures and colours from magazines of any era
  • a cup of expressive slapdashery
  • a cup of order-making quietitude
  • a black felt pen
  • a goodly dose of tenderness
  • a slug of love
  • immeasurable commitment to creative process



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Whatever you think of Eat, Pray, Love

(plenty of people go hohumm about this book)
(I boldly declare I like it),

you might enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s thoughts on the creative process.
I know I do.

Sally Swain

Inspired by Summer Solstice
play-in-progress stage 1        Sally Swain original art

Maybe you’ll feel like gobbling, imbibing, EATING her words.
You might experience them as a PRAYER to creativity.
She might help you fall in LOVE

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*The good thing about art is …

I’m ripping my way through a magazine, literally, seeking yummy shapes and textures for a collage. I chance upon this quote:

Language is very linear; you have to say one word after the other in order to get somewhere. The good thing about art is that you can say several things at the same time, in many different languages… but it’s still comprehensible.

I love it. I have to make a new collage featuring these words. String loops itself onto the page too – very non-linear.

Carsten Holler

Artlanguage                          Sally Swain collage 

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Two Witches Speeding Slowly Across the Harbour in a Claw-Footed Bath

Why the weird title?


What comes to you when you hear the words ‘creative’ and ‘ageing’ together?

Last week 

we took a peek
at middle age artiness.

This week

we open a conversation about creativity in old age.

How do we get creative around the ageing process?

The good ship Arts and Health Australia
recently launched its Celebrate Creative Ageing conference in Sydney.

I had the good

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Creativity Begets Creativity

(apologies to editor, designer, model, possum, bug and Ian Thorpe)

I am Aunty Art and Soul. I’ve been hosting niece Ruby (age 9) and sister Jennie (age not telling). We have two hours before I drive them to the airport.
Ruby says, ‘Let’s make a magazine just like POG.’

see previous post: ‘From POG to BLOG in forty years’ to discover what I’m talking about

Frenzy of paper, pens and paste of the non-Perkins variety.

VAGUE (well, at least the cover) is born.

VAGUE by Ruby, Jen and Sal (apologies to editor, designer, model, possum, bug and Ian Thorpe)

by Ruby, Jen and Sal
(apologies to editor, designer, model, possum, bug and Ian Thorpe)

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From POG to BLOG in forty years

A Creative Source Story….

I am sixteen. I sit on the beige 1970s oval rug in the family room, with my sister and my best friend.  We are surrounded by pencils, paper, Perkins Paste,scissors and magazines such as POL.   

POL is supercool, stylish. I dream of living among its pages; of being tall, slender, popular, with a floppy crocheted hat.

We cut the title from its glossy cover page.   

With the substitution of a mere letter, we invent… POG.




We design, laugh, arrange, laugh, cut, laugh, paste, laugh, rearrange. Oh. And laugh.

We don’t know it, but

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